We can talk about our lives through the songs that we loved, what our high school class song was, the music we chose for our wedding, what we sang with our children, and what music we choose for our funeral.
This week’s podcast explores funeral music, both the songs that would be appropriate and those that would raise eyebrows. Charlie reports about the power of music at the end of life along with a recipe for “Cookies of Joy” (no, they do not contain marijuana). We also welcome back singer/songwriter Mike Ward for our inaugural segment “Everyone Dies Wakes the Dead”. We are sharing with you, our loyal listeners, original music that could be played at a funeral. The music is to die for.
Resources for Funeral Music
- The Power of Music at the End of Life
- Why Include Special Music in a Funeral Ceremony?
- List of songs of every type for a funeral:
- Religious Funeral Songs:
- BROADWAY SHOWTUNES AND SOUNDTRACKS FOR A FUNERAL SERVICE
Related Content for this Episode:
Everyone Dies Wakes the Dead
Welcome to our new segment, Everyone Dies Wakes the Dead. We know that there are many wonderful songs that could be played at a funeral. We also know there are songs that could be played, but are cringeworthy (e.g. Ding Dong the Witch is Dead; Another One Bites the Dust; Ring of Fire, etc.).
We are inviting songwriters to send us a recording of two of their original songs that could be played at a funeral, one that is appropriate, one that is likely not to be included in the third half of the ‘Everyone Dies’ podcast. We will include as many artists over the next year (maybe longer if we are enjoying the segment) as possible.
Please check out the lyrics for the songs in the show notes and remember you can purchase music from the artist’s webpage which is also in the show notes.
Mike sings lyrically-centric, vocally-charged folk songs. Those are what singer-songwriter Mike Ward loves to create. Living in Detroit, Mike grew up listening to Irish music and singing in choirs. A few influences are Jason Isbell, Nanci Griffith, Bob Schneider, Bruce Springsteen, and John Prine. For Mike, the roots of family run deep—both the strengths and weaknesses. His writing echoes along empty sidewalks, on country backroads, in family portraits, and in the thin lines between joy and tragedy, love and loss, past, present, and future.
We asked Mike to tell us why he wrote the song that could be played at a funeral but was likely inappropriate to do so. He said the irreverent nature of “I’m 45” hitting subjects like lack of belief in God, gluttony, drunkenness and laziness…in the end, to die heading to hell. Here’s the Lyrics:
I’m Forty Five Words and Music by Mike Ward I’m 45 and I ain’t got no mother I’m 45 and I ain’t got no brother I sit here with my cousin and my niece And think how nice it would be to get a piece I’m 45 and I ain’t got no other I’m 45 and I’m out of work I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe in church Well I’ll tell you one thing and I’m on the level Well I even sold my soul to the devil I’m 45 and I am unemployed I’m 45 and a hundred pounds overweight There ain’t a food in the world that I can say I hate I sit here and I watch the clock Well I think I might as well get crocked I’m 45 and a hundred pounds overweight I’m 45 and I ain’t got no hair I’m 45 and goddamn I don’t even care Well I go the barber and he say “man, You better go to Florida and get yourself a tan” ‘cause you’re 45 and you aint got no hair I’m 45 and I’m lyin’ on my deathbed With a bunch of cheese and a bottle of beer at my head You know me and you know me well You know, you know I’m goin’ to hell I’m 45 and I’m lyin’ on my deathbed I was 45 the day I died My dog spot was the only one who cried Cause I fed him every day of the year Now he’ll never get another Gainesbuger I was 45 the day I died.
The second song for the category that could be played at a funeral, and it’s even appropriate, Mike chose “A Little Farther Down the Road” which offers insights into aging, more miles behind than ahead, and any regrets along the way.
The lyrics are below.
A LITTLE FARTHER DOWN THE ROAD Words and Music by Mike Ward A little farther down the road I’m on A little farther down the way I wish that I could see The path in front of me A little farther down the r-o-a--d Youth is certainly wasted on the young Kind of like a song that’s waiting to be sung Growin’ up too damn fast Trying to out run the past With all the answers on the tip of our tongue A little farther down the road I’m on A little farther down the way Weigh the wrong and right The darkness and the light A little farther down the r-o-a-d I try to do good things because I’ve done some bad Left some tears behind along this broken path I have no bucket list And no longer a clenched fist Looking forward to no longer looking back Down the road a piece, down the road a while One foot in front of the other, mile after mile Down the road we move or down the road we go With a lifetime’s worth of baggage behind us still in tow When all the flowers have been dried and pressed And this world has not heard my last breath I’ll look back on it all Wishin’ winter could turn back into fall Just once more before I lay me down for my final rest A little farther down the road I’m on A little farther down the way I cannot clearly see The place where I will be A little farther down the r-o-a-d A little farther down the r-o-a-d A little farther down the road
To hear these songs, please tune into the podcast!
Recipe of the Week
even if you do not have Ode to Joy on your playlist, you can still have Cookies of Joy, from a recipe by Saint Hildegard. At St. Hildegard Abbey, founded by Hildegard herself in Eibingen in 1165, nuns carry on her culinary traditions, making and selling “cookies of joy” along with galangal-ginger cookies, wine, and a selection of herbal liqueurs and teas.
St. Hildegard was a mystic, healer, and passionate proponent of spelt and nutmeg. She said “Take some nutmeg and an equal weight of cinnamon and a bit of cloves and pulverize them. Then make small cakes with this and flour and water. Eat them often. It will calm all bitterness of the heart and mind, open your heart and impaired senses, and make your mind cheerful. It purifies your senses and diminishes all harmful humors in you. It gives good liquid to your blood and makes you strong.”
St. Hildegard’s recommendation was a bit vague, but we found a recipe – and it has butter, so even better! Atlas Obscura also gives a great history of St. Hildegard and her work. Head over there for more info and how to make her Cookies of Joy!
Calling All Songwriters!!!
As a songwriter, ‘Everyone Dies’ is inviting you to showcase your original work on an upcoming podcast.
There are many wonderful songs that could be played at a funeral. We also know there are songs that could be played, but are cringeworthy (e.g. Ding Dong the Witch is Dead; Another One Bites the Dust; Ring of Fire, etc.).
We are inviting you to send us a recording of two of your original songs (i.e. that could be played at a funeral, one that is appropriate, one that is likely not) to be included in the third half of the ‘Everyone Dies’ podcast. We will include as many artists over the next year (maybe longer if we are enjoying the segment) as possible.
What we need:
Go to this link, fill out the form and submit it along with your two original songs in .wav or .mp3 format (i.e. two original songs that could be played at a funeral, one that is appropriate, one that is likely not). We will screen them and let you know what week your work will be included. We will include all your information in our show notes so people can purchase your recordings.
From Everyone Dies:
Everyone Dies: and yes, it is normal!
Everyone Dies (and yes, it is normal) is a story about a young boy named Jax who finds something special on the beach where he and his grandpa Pops are enjoying a wonderful day. Pops helps Jax understand that death is a normal part of life. This book provides an age appropriate, non-scary, comfortable way to introduce the important topic of mortality to a preschool child. Its simple explanation will last a lifetime. Autographed copies for sale at: www.everyonediesthebook.com. Also available at Amazon
We offer a way to memorialize your loved one or treasured pet with a piece of handmade jewelry. When people comment on it and the wearer can say for example “I received this when my mother died” which opens the conversation about this loss. All our jewelry is made with semi-precious stones and beads, vintage beads, and pearls. You can choose between earrings or bracelets and the color family. Learn More
Make a Tax-Deductible Donation Here:
Subscribe & Hit That Bell So You Don’t Miss a Podcast!
You’ll also be eligible for a monthly drawing!